Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) was established by a group of volunteers called the Tacoma Art Association, in 1935. The museum attracts over 225,000 traditional tourists that come from the region and nationwide.

The museum has 4500 works and has developed five exhibitions over a period of 80 years that have become a national model in mid-sized and regional museums. The museum caters for a broad range of communities of the Northwest by bringing them together through the use of exhibitions, art collection, and learning programs for all ages.

1. Tacoma Art Museum History

Tacoma Art Museum History
© Tacoma Art Museum

The museum is a public institution that has gained national recognition by been named by the Budget Travels as “10 Awesome Celebrity-Narrated Audio Tours,” for a Clint Eastwood narration as well as ranking top 10 as “Great Places to See Art in Smaller Cities.” The Tacoma Art Museum has grown strong roots in the communities, anchors museum district, and the Tacoma’s downtown university. The current location opened on May 3rd, 2003, from a former location of a bank building built in 1920.

The $22 million Tacoma Art Museum, Antoine Predock-designed building provided enough space and allowed the museum to exhibit more of the permanent exhibitions. Also, the $15.5 million 16,000 square feet building was planned by Olson Kundig Architects. The museum offers learning activities and creative programming tailored to all ages inclusive of free community events.

2. Permanent Exhibits

Permanent Exhibits
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European Art contains 300 works of all Medias. The artists are Eastern and Western European countries citizens.

Lindberg Collection was donated to the Tacoma Art Museum in 1983 Mr. and Mrs. W. Hilding Lindberg and consisted of more than 40 drawings and paintings. The collection originates mostly from German and French artists. It entails works by Eugene Louis Boudin, Henri Fantin-Latour, Edgar Hilaire Degas, Camille Pissarro, Adolf Schreyer, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Karl Spitzweg.

The Benaroya Collection was donated recently through an announcement by Tacoma Art Museum on January 14th, 2016. This collection was put together by late Mr. and Mrs. Jack Benaroya over their union of 70 years on her 93rd birthday. It has 225 works comprising of paintings, International and Northwestern studio art glass and sculptures by famous artists. The donation totaled close to $14 million.

Art Studio is a space designated for people to learn and make art and located next to Tacoma Art Museum store lobby. The studio supplies tools, art supplies, work tables and inspirations. The workshop is free so no need to pay admission and opens to visitors of all ages and experience. Learn and make arts.

Haub Family Collection was a generous donation to the museum and showcases western American art. It was the first museum collection from the Pacific Northwestern region. It has estimated 300 works, traversing 200 years.

3. More Permanent Exhibits

More Permanent Exhibits
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Gates Library is a project funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The library houses more than 6, 000 art books, videos, plenty of art periodicals and teacher resources. The assets are used by the educators to allow incorporation of arts with lessons plans. It characterizes of comfortable seating directing Pacific Avenue, video station, internet-connected workstations, large study table, and a kid’s book corner located in Betty Gene and John Walker Reading Alcove. It’s opened to the public for free.

TAM Store is open to the public to shop for exquisite art pieces available in the museum’s store. Select from books, cards, kids toys, home décor, baskets, blankets, hand-crafted jewelry amidst others. Available also is the latest collection directory Art of the American West: The Haub Family Collection.

Japanese Woodblock Prints mostly are from a kiyo-e, meaning, “Pictures of the floating world” genre created between 17th and late 19th Century. It characterizes of the theater, motifs of landscapes and city life.

Constance Lyon Collection comprises of over 200 patterns with dates ranging from 17th to early 20th century.

4. More Permanent Exhibits

More Permanent Exhibits
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Al and Besty Buck Collection highlights prints recording military movements from the Meiji Period (1868–1912) and Japan images of late 19th century. Al and Betsy Buck donated 52 Japanese woodblock prints in 2006 dating early 19th to early 20th.

Dale Chihuly’s Glass Artwork displays the largest retroactive collection of glass in the museum.

Studio Art Jewelry holds essential collections by Northwest artists traversing from post-World War ll period to present. It consists of works by Nancy Worden, Lori Talcott, Ron Ho, Mary Lee Hu, and Ken Cory among others. It also showcases works of national artists as well as international. Through many individuals’ contributions and Rotasa Foundation; Ramona Solberg Fund is devoted to collecting permanent jewelry collection with the most recent by Nancy Worden Frozen Dreams.

Photography Collection has approximately 350 works from 1905 to date and records various photographic procedures from original chloride prints and photogravures to current digital technologies. It includes works by several Northwest photographers like Anne Noggle, Ella McBride, Mary Randlett and Christian Staub among others. It has bespoke work by Matika Wilbur and Bill Jacobson as well.

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5. Special Exhibits

Special Exhibits
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The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today planned by Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C. It welcomes artists throughout the country to submit their most exquisite pieces of art. 2016 has selected modern works of 43 artists for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. The exhibition features sculptures, drawings, paintings, photographs and various media works. The event will take place on February 4th to May 14th, 2017.

Coast to Cascades display works by C.C. McKim’s who is an impressionist painter from Portland, Oregon. The exhibit will showcase his images that capture Oregon’s landscapes, review of his career and discover his effect into the Northwest art division. The event is ongoing until March 26, 2017.

30 Americans will feature a leading group of influential uprising African American artists who have contributed to the contemporary art section in the states and worldwide.

Artists Drawn to the West exhibition observes creative trends, styles; and actions that inclined the insights and imagery of the West American. The exhibit will showcase works of Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt among other sculptors and painters who linked the Western art to greater movements in the European and American art.

6. Special Events & Education Opportunities

Special Events & Education Opportunities
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Teacher Resource Events dedicated to celebrating teachers by gathering resources, networking and exploring galleries. It invites all educators for a socializing event in the museum. The teachers are allowed to discover various ways in which they can incorporate arts with other subjects. They also learn about the programs and resources in the Puget Sound area provided by prominent organizations.

K-12 Educator Workshop is an upcoming event brought by the Tacoma’s Museum District. It focuses on bringing fresh creative ways to incorporate Engineering, Technology, Science, Art and Mathematics into classes with a target on environmental sustainability.

TAM’s Annual Used Book Sale is intended to fund the museum’s educational programming. It allows book donations as well to support the fund. The books sold are usually gently used and covers a range of creative subjects.

Teen Night gives a chance to the teens to rule over the Tacoma Art Museum with music, gallery games, photo booth, arts, performances and more activities. The event is organized by the TAM’s Teen Art Council and encouraged by 30 Americans.

Education Opportunities

Tour Programs is an interactive school that acts as an addition to the classroom. The students learn about on view discussion ideas, work of art, voice opinions, the relation between art and their lives; and discover the current happenings of art today. It stretches knowledge to both students and teachers gain expertise in different academic disciplines.

PreK-12 School Tours set for PreK-12 students. Handbooks and extra curriculum materials are available for free online. School tours are booked three weeks in advance. The program accentuates problem solving, critical thinking and language abilities.

Professional Development provides openings to teachers to realize how object-based education develops 21st Century skills, intensifies cultural proficiency and satisfies Common Core State Standards. You learn techniques which you later train into your students to assist them to interpret art.

Curriculum Center has guides that help teachers during their preparations for school tours. However, the guides are available for independent use during the visit. The curriculum guides are available for download on the website.

7. Plan your Visit

Plan your Visit
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Snap a Selfie gives you a chance to take selfies with the museums fascinating images of artwork collections and share them with friends.

Frame It Up educates on framing through making own mini-exhibitions. There is a lot of difference in a picture once framed as it adds sophistication. During this fun activity, you play the “Curator” while training framing and organizing images on the magnetic wall.

Trace a Face using the Tacoma Art Museum switch glass tool to study about portrait drawing. The activity is an excellent way to have fun with a friend or partner since it requires two people facing each other with a switch glass in the middle. Flip the switch so that you see through the glass and draw your partner.

TAM Café offers a warm atmosphere where you relax and delight in Northwestern ingredients that make delicious dishes. The café has free Wi-Fi and charging outlets along the walls. This way, you can charge your devices while enjoying the ambiance.

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Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, Washington, 98402, Phone: 253-272-4258, Map

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